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Here is a little piece that was published int he New York Times regarding resistance training and concentration levels in older women.  Wow I wonder if this can help with “Mommy Brain”.  There are similar studies done on children as well, indicating physical activity improves concentration in the class room, so DO NOT CUT GYM TIME kids.  The fact of the matter is exercise boosts mood, energy and metabolism-you really cannot go wrong- or can you?????  I am obviously an exercise advocate, this is even how I make my lively hood, but I do see exercise go wrong some times- abused.  Yes just like an addiction- abused.  We will review a few common conditions that go hand in hand with exercise.  Please be aware I am going to cover EXTREME situations that have screamingwoman[1]mental and physical implications.  I can only comment on the physical solutions within my scope of knowledge.

1.  Over-training– this is when you are putting in too many hours, slaving away for results so much so you are not recovering and your body is actually breaking down- not building up.  As a mom you may think you do not have the time to over-train, but you might be.  Due to the nature of motherhood- lack of sleep, usually poor diet from putting your own meal aside to serve others, nursing and using exercise to the extreme as a stress reliever can cause this.   Extended workouts over 1 hour 5-7x per week can contribute.

 How can you tell if you are over training?  Little aches and pains are not going away even with proper joint stability exercise, constant muscle soreness,  lack of results, fatigue when you are not exercising, racing heart rate.  If this sounds like you proceed with the next step.  I know this may only cover a small percentage of moms, but all moms need support.

How can you test yourself for over-training– SOLUTION -Upon waking in the morning take your resting heart rate before you get up- if it is elevated above your normal resting heart rate (between 60-80 bpm) then you are in an over-trained state or STRESSED OUT. 

How Can You Fix This– shorter workouts and less, exercise 3x/week- 15-20 minutes.  Hydrate, improve your diet think of eating for muscle recovery- good fats, high quality protein, antioxidants.  Use other forms of stress relief such as massage if you require a physical outlet and sleep.

2. Exercise Bulimia– yes similar to regular bulimia instead of purging you are using extreme workouts to counteract binging behaviour.  This, to say the least, is unhealthy mentally and physically.  Mentally or emotionally if you feel you have this then help if required from a trained professional- start by seeing your health care practitioner to get a referral, seek support from your husband and family. 
I think this is more common than what women like to admit, especially at when you feel out of control and hormones are affecting your behaviour. 

How can you tell if you suffer this problem.  Do you use exercise as a scapegoat or “solution” to your binge eating? (in the most extreme sense).  Do you see exercise as a health benefit (good)or a control method (bad)?  Does exercise or eating make you feel anxious?  Will you work through a painful movement because you think it will make you thinner, although you know in your gut you could be doing more damage to your body.  If you think you may suffer this behaviour-Ask yourself these simple questions and be honest.  Many postpartum women suffer some form of anxiety, you are not alone.  Over-training mentioned above can be a side affect of this issue.

3.  Joint Pain– including back, neck, shoulder.  Again pain manifest in different ways, but I will comment on the typical joint pain that mothers get from as a result of relaxin, bending, holding your baby, carrying the car seat, stretched core muscles.    BabyBump Mom Fitness 206

Back Pain– solution- strengthen your core muscles, stretch your thoracic spine,  stretch your hip flexors, bend and lift from your hips and legs- not from your back.

Neck Pain– solution-strengthen your deep neck flexor muscles using retraction and flexion, stretch your thoracic spine, use a nursing pillow to hold your baby even if you are not nursing.

Hip Pain– if it is on one side and at the top of your pelvis carry your baby in the middle of your body, not the side especially when rocking them.  Strengthen your Gluteus medius muscle- lateral hip stabilizer muscles.  If your hip pain is in your hip joint- lateral hip stability exercise, stand with weight evenly on both legs, no jumping and may alleviate once you have stopped nursing.

All of these exercises and more are found in the Joint Stability bonus program included in the Busy Mom Fitness book

I do bring up this subject today because I notice the same individuals morning after morning on the same peice of cardio equipment, slaving away weather they are limping or not year after year with little result.  I do not know these individuals in a professional sense and I do not know if they are unaware of better exercise solutions for results or if they are exercise addicts.  I refer to addiction as stealing your concentration, passion and power for something- it controls you and you cannot function without it.

For the majority of mom’s healthy exercise integration is the key.  Don’t feel guilty if you are truly not ready for exercise yet.  Test yourself using the furious 5, and see if you can complete a continuous regular exercise routine (even a 5 minute routine) for 1-2 weeks.  This is your indicator you are ready for regular exercise in your life.  The other extreme is what we covered today, this can happen when healthy exercise integration is not followed- pressure, guilt, and control regarding exercise can happen easily that can lead to a negative exercise experience/integration.  Long term results, happiness and health cannot be achieved via negative experience.  The phase 1- 10 exercise integration process in the Busy Mom Fitness program is more important than you think for long term health success.  The fact is after you have had a baby, your body changes, you feel fat -lumpy or weak and proper exercise is the solution.  I usually write from the perspective of under-training or not exercising- today we covered the other side of the pendulum. 

Regardless if you are under-training or over-training the solution is the same.

1. Healthy Exercise Integration

2. 3-4 regular 20 minute workouts per week

3.  Multi directional resistance training for joint stability, fat loss, strength, and posture.

4.  Baby Bump Busy Mom Fitness

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